Implementing a CRM can be super easy or highly complex depending on the industry and the way in which the CRM will be used. Regardless, there are always some common challenges and some mistakes that are easy to avoid:
"It’s so easy even *I* can do it!”
Salesforce is sold as super-easy to implement and it can be but the way you set up a Salesforce org the first time is not how you would set it up the second, third or three-hundredth time.
We work on many re-implementation projects where Salesforce failed to launch and "sat on the shelf" for a year until a new owner came in. Don’t end up with a painful Salesforce setup! Get expert advice before day one if you want to be sure of adoption and process consistency.
“Everyone’s going to use Salesforce for everything. From Day One!”
It sounds shocking but most Salesforce customers have never defined, formalized, enforced or even communicated their standard sales processes. Trying to implement Salesforce for inside/outside sales and marketing activities along with renewals and contract management and then piling on customer service will give any team a bad case of data indigestion. It is best to start small with a laser-focus; pilot with an innovative group that can give constructive feedback; then iterate and release slowly to the larger audience.
“Can’t you just make it work like Google?”
Sure, if you have Google-sized pockets we can make Salesforce do anything! Salesforce is an extensible tool and the AppExchange is a Swiss Army toolkit but companies still need to customize it for their business and their processes. Start small, prove the methodology and gain success then add to the platform once you’re sure the process works. Also, be wary of adding too much code. Everytime there is a new release (three times a year) you need to revisit your code to ensure it will stand-up to platform changes. Having too much complexity in your org could encourage high maintenance costs for the lifetime of your org.
“Salesforce will solve all our crummy data problems.”
Salesforce cannot solve lead generation or customer intimacy data issues unless you’ve incorporated a standard methodology, best practices, and configured the tool to match.
When reimplementing Salesforce we often encounter scenarios where 80%-90% of the fields on the page have not been populated (there are free tools that provide insights) because the users are being asked for data when they don’t know the answers or data that only applies to a handful of scenarios (read about some data quality pain points here).
“We want to put everything in Salesforce!”
Salesforce is an extensible platform but when designing the solution architecture of Salesforce it’s better to solve for 85% of the business scenarios that occur every day or every month rather than configuring Salesforce to accommodate the random one-off occasions which just muddy the waters of a solid business process. Concentrating on standard processes that can be defined, automated and measured will provide efficiencies and time-savings.
Ultimately what you do with your Salesforce project is determined by your business and technical requirements but if you start small(ish) you can minimize risk, build on success, and expand the platform at a rate that suits everyone - not just the few people with big ideas who aren’t necessarily responsible for execution, adoption and ongoing success.
Aside from lots of funny tales from the trenches we also have decades of project experience so please contact us if we can help you with your Salesforce implementation.